I wish I could be a fly on the wall in an energy executives' office. BP Reports 3rd-Quarter Profit Up 34 Pct. Tuesday, October 25, 2005 1:39 PM EDT The Associated Press By JANE WARDELL LONDON (AP) Energy group BP PLC, one of the world's largest oil companies, reported a 34 percent rise in quarterly profit Tuesday as record energy prices more than outweighed hurricane damage to its rigs and refineries. BP said net profit for the three months ended Sept. 30 rose to $6.53 billion, up from $4.87 billion in same period of 2004. Revenue jumped to $97.73 billion from $66.73 billion. Production fell 2 percent from a year ago, primarily because of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Katrina hit in late August, temporarily shutting down at least 80 percent of Gulf crude oil and natural gas production and crippling many refineries. Hurricane Rita then followed, delaying a return to usual production. "The recent hurricanes in the U.S. have impacted our results. However, underlying performance is strong, amplified by high but volatile prices of oil, gas and products," said Chief Executive Lord Browne. "We anticipate production from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to be back to normal, with the exception of the Shell-operated Mars project, by the end of the year." KBC Peel Hunt analyst Antoine Leurent said BP ultimately benefited from the hurricanes and the spike in oil prices they caused more than it suffered from the shutdowns. BP's badly damaged Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf is expected to start production in the second half of next year, the company said, with the costs to secure and repair the facility were $107 million for the quarter. The company said its Texas City refinery, which was shut down in advance of Hurricane Rita, is expected to resume production late in the fourth quarter. That refinery also was the site of an explosion and fire in March that killed 15 people and injured 170. Browne said the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil averaged $61.63 in the third quarter, an increase of $10 per barrel from the second quarter average, and more than $20 per barrel above the same period last year. Oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange peaked at $70.85 a barrel on Aug. 30 because of Katrina, and Browne said prices "are expected to be well supported into the winter." BP is the first major oil company to report results since the hurricanes, ahead of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp. later this week. The company said its replacement cost profit for the quarter, considered a key indicator by analysts, rose 16 percent to $4.41 billion. The measure excludes exceptional items and gain in the value of inventory holdings, providing the amount it would cost to replace assets at current prices. The third-quarter result included a charge of $921 million, largely due to the loss of fair value on Innovene, the company's petrochemicals unit that it is selling for $9 billion to British chemical company Ineos PLC. That compared with a charge of $394 million in the year-ago period. Shares in BP fell 1.2 percent to close at 609 pence ($10.77) on the London Stock Exchange.